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Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 16:26 UK

Massa set to fly home to Brazil

Felipe Massa

Massa's crash explained (UK users only)

Ferrari's Felipe Massa is to return to Sao Paulo on 3 August, just nine days after fracturing his skull during qualifying for the Hungarian GP.

The Brazilian, 28, left intensive care in Budapest earlier this week as he continues to make good progress after surgery on his life-threatening injury.

His personal doctor, Dino Altmann, said: "Felipe continues to improve.

"He is doing very well, and we have already decided to go back home on Monday to Sao Paulo."

There had been speculation that Massa would continue his recovery at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris.

Rob Smedley

Massa's engineer reflects on crash (UK only)

But Altmann said: "He is to continue his recovery and return to racing as soon as possible, that's the plan. He is in a very good mood, good shape, and he just wants to come back soon."

Massa was hit on the helmet by a metal spring, the size of a drink can and weighing almost a kilo, which fell off fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car.

When he was flown to hospital, his condition was initially diagnosed as "life-threatening", and there were fears for his eyesight.

But doctors took Massa out of an artificial coma and off a respirator on Monday as he continued to make good progress.

Massa was visited by Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and Domenicali's predecessor Jean Todt on Tuesday.

"It was incredible to see such a fantastic improvement after just three days," said Domenicali, who was also upbeat on Massa's chances of returning to F1.

"As soon as he is back, that is his car," he added.

Massa accident 'a wake-up call' - Gascoyne

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is to race again for Ferrari while Massa recovers.

The spring from Barrichello's car struck Massa's helmet just above his eye, and his feet are believed to have come to rest on both the throttle and brake, as his car ploughed head-on into a tyre wall at about 125mph.

His father, mother and pregnant wife all flew in from Brazil to be with him.

Massa's accident came days after Formula Two driver Henry Surtees, 18, was killed in what was described as a freak accident during a race at Brands Hatch.

The son of motorsport legend John Surtees was struck by a wheel that flew off a competitor's car.

Barrichello has led the calls for more stringent safety measures to be looked into. Referring to Surtees, the veteran refused to believe the two incidents were coincidental.

The Legend that is PhilSlocombe

"I honestly don't believe in coincidences in life," he said on Saturday. "Things happen for a reason and I think this is the second message.

"Imola [where Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger died in 1994] was a message and the cars were improved. Unfortunately, we lost a boy [Surtees], which is tremendously sad."

Barrichello's team boss Ross Brawn said the team are still investigating why the spring came loose from the back of their car.

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see also
Three teams block Schumacher test
04 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher makes shock F1 return
29 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Felipe Massa
21 Jul 09 |  Drivers & Teams
F1 to investigate Massa accident
26 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
David Coulthard column
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Massa's crash explained
26 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Something broke on my car - Barrichello
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso grabs shock Hungary pole
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Hungary GP qualifying as it happened
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Hungarian GP qualifying photos
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Probe into fatal Surtees accident
20 Jul 09 |  Motorsport
Surtees' son killed in race crash
20 Jul 09 |  Kent

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